Sunday, 15 September 2013

New media ecology, new language for internal comms

This week I came across a report by The Institute for the Future (IFTF), titled Future Work Skills 2020”. The paper identifies the key drivers that are likely to transform the context of work and explores the professional skills needed in the next decade.

One of the drivers of change highlighted by the document is the “new media ecology”.

I found the definition of this concept of particular relevance for the world of internal communications and the networked enterprise.

The report makes the following case:

New multimedia technologies are bringing about a transformation in the way we communicate. As technologies for video production, digital animation, augmented reality, gaming, and media editing, become ever more sophisticated and widespread, a new ecosystem will take shape around these areas. We are literally developing a new vernacular, a new language, for communication.”

Already, the text-based Internet is transforming to privilege video, animation, and other more visual communication media.”

At the same time, virtual networks are being integrated more and more seamlessly into our environment and lives, channeling new media into our daily experience. The millions of users generating and viewing this multimedia content from their laptops and mobile devices are exerting enormous influence on culture.

New media is placing new demands on attention and cognition. It is enabling new platforms for creating online identity while at the same time requiring people to engage in activities such as online personal reputation and identity management.”

It is enabling new ways for groups to come together and collaborate, bringing in new levels of transparency to our work and personal lives.”

At the same time, our sensibility toward reality and truth is likely to be radically altered by the new media ecology. We must learn to approach content with more skepticism and the realisation that what you see today may be different tomorrow. Not only are we going to have multiple interpretations of recorded events, but with ubiquitous capture and surveillance, events will be seen from multiple angles and perspectives, each possibly telling a different story of individual events.”

The new media ecology as delineated above, suggests many implications for the enterprise, and for internal communications.

Organisations will have to engage with workers by critically evaluating and developing activities that takes into considerations these latests forms of communications and assessing their impacts on people behaviours, approaches to work and employees' identities.

It will become the new normal for social collaboration platforms, blogs, podcasts and videos to be fully integrated and adopted for business purposes in the workplace.

At the same time the ability of discriminating and discerning information from vast amount of data will be paramount for employees to focus on what is important to them to perform their tasks. With this, the practice of social filtering – for example tagging content - will support more and more the situation where relevant information can be easily found and productively used.

It seems very likely that we will see this stimulating communications environment brought about by the new media economy, developing on a large scale. It will translate everywhere possible, into the new way employees communicate, work and engage inside the organisation.